The busy season in mulch production is when efficient companies thrive while many others run out of finished product to meet demand. High-quality mulch is usually bought up pretty fast and the stringy product is always first to go. With nearly 30 years of operational experience and 10 years of producing a substantial mulch product, Metzler Forest Products know how to work to meet this demand. Nestled across the ridge of Happy Valley in Pennsylvania, Metzler provides both land clearing and timber harvesting services that generate the majority of their source material, as well as wood waste from surrounding communities, including the greater campus of Penn State University.
After grinding up the larger source wood, operations chief, Max Peachey, turns on his newly purchased Backers 3-mal star screen to separate the fines and oversized ground wood from the stringy wood material that is transported up a 100-foot conveyor to the end product pile. “The engineering of [Backers] convinced me that it was what we need,” said Peachey. “We color our mulch black, brown, and red. When you do this, it’s important to have as few fines in the mulch as possible.” The Backers three fraction screening technology pulls fines out through three different sized decks. “We either screen the fines back into the mulch or use it for our compost or soil product,” continued Peachey.” With fewer fines in the stringy mulch product that goes through the dying process, less dye and water is expended.
“We’re going to save a lot on re-grind costs this year too,” said Nate Metzler, Business Manager and son of founder Alan Metzler. When mulch is screened out, it traditionally is reground to achieve the consistency that sells in the marketplace. “The Backers is making it so we only run our grinder half the time we usually would run it last year.” Not only is fuel saved and hours of labor, but the grinder’s life is extended with less wear and tear each season. The Backers 3-mal has an extended coarse deck that helps achieve a high volume capacity and removes the spearing long pieces. This oversized material is either re-ground or used for Metzler’s Filtrex socks that they sell for erosion control.
In addition, transportation is one of the other significant costs when it comes to selling mulch. Whether it is to retail locations or larger customers, the mulch that is weighed down with more fines is going to be more expensive to move per cubic yard. This is even more significant in bagging operations with how much a trailer can handle. Bags weigh less with fines removed from dyed mulch products, therefore the fines can then be broken down and added to soil products. As a result, the product is lightened. Prior to the Backers, Metzler operated two trommel screens year round to meet production demand. The Backers 3-mal is an amended version of the Backers 3-ma. The “l” stands for the longer coarse screen deck. This is extremely important when trying to gain high throughputs in mulch.